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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Going Up? #13304534 10/07/19 08:19 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,618
Laner Offline OP
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Going Up?

In the dark I see four boats idling back and forth beyond the docks; lions pacing, waiting for their turn strike. I have hand selected four guides to help me today, each bringing to the table unmeasurable amounts of talent and experience, forged by years of doing battle with Mother Nature, who as we all know, shows partiality to no man.

Today’s trip is out of the norm, and admittedly a nice change of pace with a little added twist of a challenge. Fujitec, an elevator company held in very high regards across the world, has booked a half day fishing trip for thirty people, with a catered fish fry to be held immediately afterwards. It is expected of us to keep all participants safe and happy, provide a top-notch fishing experience with a fruitful harvest, take a big group picture and then commence to frying the freshly cleaned fish for our customers. It’s rare that I get to help cook and eat the fish I clean, so I’m definitely looking forward to that part of the day.

After hands are shaken and a final rundown of the itinerary has taken place, eager fishermen pick their boats. I personally don’t see how they could lose, as I have a fine crew working with me today. Chris Richardson, one of the best all around outdoorsmen that I know, has a knack for catching big hybrid striper and sandbass, so he’s sure to bring in an impressive haul. Ted Hayes has years of experience on Cedar Creek, both professionally and recreationally, and has a passion for taking care of others. Steve Browning of Hothouse Outfitters, both a firefighter and a fishing guide, is obviously no stranger to serving others and hard work, and is well known for producing limits of crappie. Allen Dyer of Cedar Creek Lake Adventures has lived on this body of water for years, and not only fishes in crappie tournaments all over the state, but full-time guides for them as well. Finally, we have Chris Webb of Chris Webb’s Guide Service. Chris has been guiding full time for the last decade, and is highly regarded as one of the most sought after and highest fish producing freshwater guides in Texas. Needless to say, the odds are stacked in our favor.

As I see the bows of large center consoles splitting the chop on their way out, I turn to the guys left standing on the dock. “What the heck did y’all do wrong to get stuck with me this morning?” Shrugging and laughing, they step aboard and I start the Yamaha. “Gentlemen, what do you want to chase? I’ve been on a great crappie bite, but the sandies and hybrids are cooperating right now too. This is your day and I’m here to make it great. What’ll it be?” Survey says: crappie.

Idling through the bridge, I lay the hammer down with main lake brush piles in my sites. I’m glad my crew chose the fish they did for a couple of reasons. One, there’s very little wind today and it’s going to take awhile before the hybrids and white bass stack up. The second is there’s a big pot of money given to the man who catches the biggest fish. We’ve got a decent shot at putting a big flathead in the boat if we’re hitting brush piles all morning. It’s going to take a big blue or yella to win the money.

Watching my sonar, I toss my marker buoy on the target area. Our first spot is scattered brush on a main lake point, ranging from 15-18ft. I turn my boat into the wind, looking out to the east to watch a tequila sunrise. My customers have already taken notice, phones raised for pictures, as if to later prove to themselves they were witnesses to an absolutely incredible start to a Saturday.

“Our technique today is going to be very simple, but it’s going to take you guys paying very close attention to details if you want to be successful. Our water temp is still in the low eighties, and the fish aren’t really thumping the jig yet. I want you to have just enough line out that when your rod tip is six to eight inches off the surface of the water, there’s slack in your line so you know your bait is resting on bottom. As slowly as you can, I want you to lift your rod two to three feet from wherever it is you’ve found bottom, then pause for a good three to five seconds. Typically, this is when you’ll get bit. Watch the line beneath your rod tip very closely, as you will not feel the bite in most cases. If you’re holding the rod dead still and all of a sudden you see the line go slack, set the hook. This is how you’ll catch most of your fish today.”

“Fire when ready.” My crew drops down, silently anticipating the strike. I’m closely watching everyone’s line, making sure each person is allowing their very light jig head to fall all the way to the bottom. I’m asking a lot of them, so I want to coach them in the early stages of our trip, making everyone more successful by the end of our time on the water together.

A minute goes by and still no one has struck gold. I jog the trolling motor five foot to the left, and we strike a quick double, followed by a catfish. I take off their fish and am quickly greeted by more fish coming from the right side of the boat now. “Heck yeah guys, everyone on the boat gets to eat this afternoon!” We hover back and forth, covering the brush pile in its entirety. After ten minutes, we leave our first stop with eleven keepers.

The wind is still a nonfactor, barely a ripple from the southeastern direction. I can hit any spot I want on a day like this, and I intend to take full advantage of the situation. I’m curious as to how the other boats are doing, but given the lack of chatter on the group text, I assume everything is going as planned.

“Y’all knocked it out of the park on picking the weather today guys. Talk about a beautiful Saturday.” I make small talk while deciding where I should go next. I decide to slide east and check out a couple of logs on a ledge in twelve feet. I’ve been resting this spot all week, and if it’s anything like the last time I hit it, we are about to see some big black crappie.

Side-scanning the pile, I ask my customers to stand up and see the fish for themselves. “You see these little white dots hovering over the log? Those are crappie. They are twenty feet to our left, and are hovering two feet off the bottom. Basically, they are all suspended right above the structure we are about to fish. The reason I’m telling you all this is so you know how far to come off the bottom. Y’all think you can handle it?”

They handled it. I threw the marker on the far east side of the log, compensating for the wind direction. I pull around slowly, dropping the trolling motor and sneaking up on the westside a pile that is chop full of fish. I don’t want to spook them, ruining our chances to stack the cooler. “I want everyone to pitch their jig about halfway to that marker, close your bale, then hold you pole dead still while your bait swings down like a pendulum. Look for your line to do something out of the ordinary, and when it does, set the hook.”

I toss out right alongside them and get bit immediately. The fish doesn’t even move. He just shakes his head, holding on to that log as best he can. I reel in a broad shouldered mohawk black crappie pushing fifteen inches. I’d like to be happy about it but I’m too busy taking fish off of everyone else’s hooks. What a problem to have. These guys are making my “job” so incredibly easy. They listen well, they set the hook, and they know when to sling a fish in the boat like a pro. Have I ever mentioned I love guiding?

These guys can handle their business so I go and check my phone to get an update on the other boats. Apparently, Richardson has found the hybrids and is going for the win on the big fish pot. Webb is stacking white bass, as he’s already put a nice mess of crappie on the deck. Allen says “they’re biting”, which I can only assume means he is slaying fish as usual. Steve is silent and Mr. Hayes just says “can’t talk right now.” Can’t talk right now? That’s either really good or really bad, but either way it’s going to make a good story.

We cruise over to a spot that I’ve been looking forward to hitting all morning, an ace in the hole if you will. As I idle closer, I’m starting to realize another fisherman and his wife are incredibly close to my waypoint. I can see he’s running Livescope by the transducer pole. Regardless, part of me wants to fish this hole, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned on Saturdays in the past, it’s don’t show your aces. All he has to do is wait for us to leave and he gets a spot I really don’t’ want him to have. I just keep on idling by, throwing up a wave as I go. “Guys, I know I’ve been talking about this spot all morning, but I can’t play this card right now. I’ll explain later.”

Call it a blessing in disguise, or call it pure luck, but the spot I planned on killing a little time on ends up being our best spot of the day. Our first volley yields a triple. Ok, ok, I can get used to this. These kinds of moments are what keep me up at night. “I haven’t caught this many fish in my entire life, and I’ve always liked to fish!” Looking at a man with a smile on his face, I take another thirteen-inch crappie off his line and slap him on the back. “Keep it up buddy, we’ve got plenty of room left in the cooler and nothing but time.” I take a moment to soak it in. It’s only a few seconds, but watching grown men laugh for a living is more than I deserve.

We pull eighteen to twenty keepers off this spot, a welcome surprise to this captain. As the bite begins to slow, I look back to our south only to see the boat with the Livescope has left the area. “Gentlemen, we’ve got about forty-five minutes left before we have to hit land. What do you say we treat ourselves to a grand finale?”

My goal today was to hit the forty fish mark, and we’ve clicked the clicker forty-two times already this morning. “I’m not forcing you guys to do anything you don’t want to do, but I’d like to see us go home with more than fifty today. We’ve already surpassed my goal, and we can feed the whole party with our fish alone. Now we’re going to put some meat in your freezer.”

I don’t know who built this brush pile, but they had me in mind when they did. The first word that comes to my mind is: textbook. The brush starts up on a flat in twelve foot of water, and goes all the way down the ledge, bottoming out at twenty-one feet. My bow is hovering on the precipice, with the drop-off being directly under our feet. “You need to make sure your jig is always two feet off the bottom here. You can be in twelve feet or twenty feet, but always makes sure you are adjusting to see how your bait is relating to the bottom. Trust me, I love this spot for a reason.”

When it’s all said and done, we’re back at the cleaning tables enjoying the shade of a large oak, with leaves that are just starting to brown. With the help of some very enjoyable customers, we add fifty-four crappie to the already growing pile of fish. I look around to assess the damage. There are already three, six-foot tables full of fish, and we’ve still got more boats on the water. Allen comes in with a smile on his face, so I know he’s got something in that cooler of his. “I think we got the money fish!” Nodding, I go over with a smile. A handsome blue cat ranging in the ten to twelve-pound mark is sitting on top of a pile of crappie. “Nice dude! That’s going to be tough to beat. Heck yeah man that is awesome! You’ve got us all beat so far, only guys left are Ted and Steve. Right on time, I can see them both in the distance. Neither one of the say much as they make the hike up to the parking lot, but they look happy and swollen chested, so I know something went well.

Trailering up like a homecoming king, Ted says he’s got big fish. “Oh really now, what you got in that box Ted?” Digging around in his cooler, I can see him wrestling something with both hands. Looking at the other guides who are still staring at Ted, “damn, he was being serious.” As he lifts the fish he’s been wrestling, it’s now clear to see he’s got a fish worth as many five-dollar bills as were put in the pot. “We saw the fish on Livescope, dropped one of my hand ties, and he hit it. Ran himself around a log and I thought we lost him. Worked him back out and ol boy got ‘em in the boat. All I did was net him.” “You did more than that buddy, you helped land someone’s biggest fish of their life. Well done my friend, well done.”


…..


It took a two-hour nap to finally realize how much fun I had this morning. I had been running on fumes from staying up all night, preparing food and trying to remember all the things I may have forgot. Still lying in bed, I look at the group picture again; my only regret being we didn’t get a final count on how many fish were brought to the tables. I do however know we sent each customer home with a bag full of filets, and we still had more left to give out even after we fed everyone.

To say this day was a pinnacle moment of my guiding career is an understatement. Five guides worked together making some very happy memories for a company that I to now have a lot of respect for. Any boss that pays for his workers to go out and enjoy themselves is always welcome in my boat. I also realize that guiding is much like the elevator business, in that, you guessed it, it’s full of ups and downs. Although I didn’t get to see and hear everyone’s experience personally, I can always look back on this picture and all that went into it, knowing that at this time and place in my life, I’m going up.

[Linked Image]



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Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304561 10/07/19 08:49 PM
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pop r Online Content
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Awesome post Laner! cheers

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304666 10/07/19 11:28 PM
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David Welcher Offline
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Great post

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304690 10/08/19 12:06 AM
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PlanoPaul Offline
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Thank you for the read buddy cheers You certainly have a knack for making memorable fishing trips for folks. You are most definitely going up!

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304739 10/08/19 12:53 AM
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BP5168 Offline
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Awesome post!

Re: Going Up? [Re: pop r] #13304748 10/08/19 01:00 AM
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gar1970 Online Content
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Originally Posted by pop r
Awesome post Laner! cheers

+1


When you catch a fish you feel the door to happiness open
Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304819 10/08/19 01:55 AM
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SK. Offline
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Sound like a great group to work for and you put the work in for sure..... Nice catches.....


Jigging; it's faster than chasing a minner in a bucket!

REGARDLESS OF HOW MANLY YOU THINK YOU ARE WEARING A PFD CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.....

Check Out SK's CRAPPIE Catching Adventures on YouTube....
https://www.youtube.com/user/fishingorhunting
Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304836 10/08/19 02:14 AM
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banker-always fishing Online Content
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Solid Post and a super haul. Awesome Job. bow_down




IGFA World Record Rio Grande Cichlid. Lake Dunlap.

John 3:16

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304852 10/08/19 02:27 AM
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Fishbonz Online Content
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That`s what I call Lowering the lake level! WTG Laner super post! thumb

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304884 10/08/19 02:58 AM
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Tommar Offline
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Too long..... read every word. roflmao

Nice post!


US Army and TXARNG 1984-2014
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Iraq 2004-05
A'stan 2009
VFW Post Commander 2013-15
Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304908 10/08/19 03:26 AM
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crapicat Offline
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Great story Lane, as always, my friend!

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13304985 10/08/19 11:01 AM
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clap

Re: Going Up? [Re: pop r] #13305039 10/08/19 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pop r
Awesome post Laner! cheers



+1

Re: Going Up? [Re: banker-always fishing] #13305055 10/08/19 12:42 PM
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Gitter Done Offline
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Originally Posted by banker-always fishing
Solid Post and a super haul. Awesome Job. bow_down






Yes Sir!

Re: Going Up? [Re: Laner] #13305073 10/08/19 01:00 PM
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JIM SR. Offline
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Excellent read, and a perfect fishing day. Those guys have stories to last years, great fellowship. coolphotos





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